Today's note is a perfect use of the little feature recently introduced here at TGB. Lagniappe is for short items that are extra special or time-worthy enough to post on Tuesday or Thursday, days on which I usually do not publish.
Before I had poured my first cup of coffee this morning, a news alert popped onto the computer screen:
Shkreli, CEO Reviled for Drug Price Gouging, Arrested on Securities Fraud Charges
How delicious and how perfectly timed given yesterday's post about him. Here is the lead paragraph from Bloomberg:
”A boyish drug company entrepreneur, who rocketed to infamy by jacking up the price of a life-saving pill from $13.50 to $750, was arrested at his Manhattan home early Thursday morning on securities fraud related to a firm he founded...
“The federal case against him has nothing to do with pharmaceutical costs, however. Prosecutors charged him with illegally taking stock from Retrophin Inc., a biotechnology firm he started in 2011, and using it pay off debts from unrelated business dealings. He was later ousted from the company, where he’d been chief executive officer, and sued by its board.”
Yes, yes. We all know he is innocent until proven guilty but somehow I have no difficulty believing these charges filled with such phrases as payoff agreements, fake consulting agreements, unauthorized appropriations, fraudulently reclassifying, insolvent, and more.
”The company alleged in a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court that, through a disastrous trade with Merrill Lynch in 2011, Shkreli cost MSMB more than $7 million, leaving it virtually bankrupt.
And all that barely scratches the surface of the story which you can read in its delicious entirety at Bloomberg. I am sure that like me, you will appreciate this little kicker from reporters Christie Smythe and Keri Geiger:
“'Some of these companies seem to act more like hedge funds than traditional pharmaceutical companies,' said Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who ran the recent hearing.
“George Scangos, CEO of biotechnology giant Biogen Inc., went further, saying in an interview, 'Turing is to a research-based company like a loan shark is to a legitimate bank.'”
The arrest couldn't happen to a more worthy guy. Not that I would indulge in anything like schadenfreude, you understand.